Only a few more days left until Marcus is no longer a kindergartener! There has been a lot of learning going on this school year. Marcus learned the typical kindergarten-type things, but I think I might have learned more than he did this school year. Up until this year, I have pretty much been at Marcus's side through his life experiences. Even though I dropped him off at preschool the past two years and was not with him during those few hours, the things he did and the people he was with were not as much of a mystery as it was this year with kindergarten. Back in those preschool days, before he went in the classroom I talked with the other moms and got to know a little about each of their kids. I even grew up with his preschool teacher's daughter so there was no mystery in her. Therefore, even when I wasn't with Marcus, I knew who he was with and I knew their parents. Then along came kindergarten. I stick him on the bus in the morning five days a week and wait for him 7.5 hours later to get off that bus. The only thing I know about the kids he is with all day long is what my 6 year old son tells me about them. And I certainly don't know anything about those kids' parents. There have been a few school functions and birthday parties where I have had the opportunity to meet a few of the parents (and kids). It is awkward. Probably not for anyone but me. I extend my hand and say, "Hi, I'm Marcus's mom." Then my mind starts screaming, "And you better believe it and not draw any conclusions because I know that now you know that he was adopted and that better not change a damn thing!!!" Maybe it is an insecurity thing on my part. With the majority of the people that I have tried to have some sort of relationship with up until this point, they have either known my family's back story or else I have talked with them enough times (like the old preschool drop off parents) that any shock that my kid doesn't look like me has worn off. I don't care what the random stranger at the grocery store thinks that sees my fair complected self with my dark complected sons. But I find that I do care what the parents of Marcus's friends think. I want them to like me and think we are normal people and know it will be fine if their kid wants to play with my kid. I also wonder if that feeling I get when meeting new people is the way that racism feels. I introduce myself as Marcus's mom and most of the time I see people do a double take. I can almost feel them suddenly coming to a conclusion about my family and what kind of people we are based purely on how we look. Whether their conclusion is correct or not (although I am willing to bet that most of the time it isn't), the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up because I think that this person knows something about me (and my family) that really is none of their business. Then I feel this pressure to act incredibly normal. Because if I don't act like there is anything odd about the diversity in my family then these new people won't feel like there is anything odd about my family not all matching. Most importantly, hopefully my kids won't feel like there is anything different about our family just because we don't all look alike. But there stands that great big elephant in the room. This is Marcus. He is my son. Yes, I know we don't look alike and that is because he was born in Guatemala and then we adopted him and that one tiny little fact is the only thing different about my family and yours. Now that we got that out of the way, can we get on with getting to know eachother?
Tuesday, May 29, 2012